Dr Ipek Demir compares the responses from the East and the West in relation to Covid-19

Dr Demir writes for Discover Society, assessing different responses taken by countries worldwide, asking whether the arguably slow action from the likes of the UK was motivated by western-centrism.

This comes as many, including the WHO Director General and President of the EU Commission, suggest that the West has been slow to take action despite warnings from the East.

Dr Demir writes “It is no longer a secret. The West, on the whole, has underestimated the coronavirus – covid-19”. Dr Demir describes and analyses the key developments of Covid-19 and how they unfolded worldwide before the disease was eventually referred to as a global pandemic. The article references how some countries “did not implement the advice and techniques which came from the East and the WHO” and that “rich nations such as the US and the UK initially ignored this advice”.

Dr Demin argues this inaction is not just motivated by government aversion to “scaremongering”, and proceeds to ask challenging questions: “Would those who govern us in the UK have been as laissez-faire if the virus had been identified in the US and it was the US government and scientists who made those recommendations?”.

Within the article various questions are raised by Dr Demin about why the response in the West was slow despite the insight and warnings the East was sharing. Dr Demin concedes that countries in Asia, such as China and South Korea, haven’t necessarily got the perfect solution, and the long-term effects of the measured taken remain to be seen. However, this doesn’t mean that their warnings should be overlooked and overshadowed by a Western-centric attitude.

The article concludes by assessing different approaches to risk across the globe and how these views have become established over time. Dr Demir closes with the following thought “The coronavirus pandemic should thus open up the risk research in social sciences by bringing to the fore that Western-centric attitudes, in their refusal and reluctance to take advice from ‘the Rest’, can also shape Western responses to risk. Even worse, they can even operate against the West.”

Read the full article in Discover Society